Chaco Canyon

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sign at entrance to Chaco CanyonChaco Culture National Historical Park & World Heritage Site

Welcome to my Chaco Canyon website. Chaco Canyon was the center of the Anasazi world. It was occupied at least from 800AD to 1300AD, with a peak of development between 900AD and 1100AD. This site contains photos, maps, information, links, opinions and journals of trips to Chaco Canyon. Let me know what you think. mjh

  • Map of Chaco Canyon (with links to ruins descriptions and photos)
  • Journals (notes as I traveled to various ruins)
  • Outliers (ruins outside of Chaco Canyon)

Where is Chaco Canyon?

Chaco Canyon is in northwest New Mexico. This area is known as the Four Corners, where northwest New Mexico, northeast Arizona, southeast Utah and southwest Colorado meet. This area is also the San Juan Basin and part of the Colorado Plateau.

Chaco Canyon is 150 miles northwest of Albuquerque, New Mexico — that’s about 3 hours driving time (the last 20+ miles are dirt road). [The map to the right is a link to a larger Adobe Acrobat file with many more related areas shown.]

See also: The Roads to Chaco Canyon for a description and map of the dirt roads into Chaco Canyon (on my blog).And read How much time does Chaco take? before you plan your trip.

Who were the Anasazi?

The Anasazi Indians lived in this area for centuries. Some prefer the name "Ancestral Puebloans," which more clearly describes their relationship to present-day Pueblo people, including the Hopi (who call these people "Hisatsinom"), the Acoma, Taos Pueble, the Zuni, and other Pueblos of New Mexico. They were descended from the Basketmakers and roughly contemporary with the Hohokam, Sinaqua, and the Mogollon.

What are these ruins?

The Anasazi built so-called "great houses" which are sometimes huge structures of stone three or more stories high, consisting of hundreds of rooms. Construction consists of complex masonry of several styles (often quite small stones). Most of the stonework was originally covered in plaster which has since warn away leaving the stonework exposed. These structures are no longer occupied and are now stunning ruins.

More stuff

Chaco Culture National Historical Park (National Park Service)
http://www.nps.gov/chcu/
CHCU_Interpretation@nps.gov
PO Box 220
Nageezi, NM 87037-0220
voice: 505-786-7014
fax: 505-786-7061

Who I am

Be sure to read the disclaimer before quoting or questioning me. Thanks.

Next: Map of Chaco Canyon >

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The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness. — John Muir 1838-1914